Operation Every Band

Lost in the Trees sounding great at Holy Mountain

Lost in the Trees– “Past Life


Pairs Well With… Typhoon, Bowerbirds, Midlake


Lost in the Trees have gone for a notably paired down sound on their most recent album Past Life. The group has dropped their orchestral element focusing more on lush textures and looped instrumentation. The album also marks a departure from Picker as the primary creative force allowing the three remaining fellow members of the band more input into creating the band’s songs. After getting acquainted with the band’s new sound and Past Life’s palpable energy, it’s apparent change was needed for the band to grow and evolve creatively.

2012 Review: Operation Every Band caught Lost in the Trees at last year’s 35 Conferette (now 35 Denton) at a late night outdoor set after a night of music and drinking. Afterwards, as we ambled to our cars with our designated drivers we talked about just how good the band was. Were we enamored because we were boozed up, or were they as interesting a group as Kevin and I went on about? We caught them the next week at SXSW and all doubt was gone. The SXSW set was earlier, and singer Ari Picker’s vocals and the band’s performance were again as dramatically intimate as we had heard at 35 Denton. We chose them as one of our 12 artists to follow and I asked to cover them as my lone non-hip hop act. A year later and my copy of All Alone in an Empty House is my most well worn record. It’s a perfect late night or early Sunday afternoon album, a mixture of heartfelt and dramatic from the first to final track that is rarely found. Ari’s songs are autobiographical and predominantly observational. Rarely does he pick a side in the often conflicting viewpoints in his songs. While the band has always had an experimental edge, a “folk orchestra” I’ve repeated on more than one occasion, their most recent singles and the implied tone of the new album, A Church That Fits Our Needs, appears to be their most exploratory yet.  A promo video for the album finds Ari discussing his inspiration for the newest album, his mother’s illness and death, and how he coped and continues to deal with the sudden loss. So a little tipsy or not, check out Lost in the Trees at SXSW and see if you find a similar connection to the music. For many acts the norms are a pretense of detachment and transparent fake cool, at least for this listener, the coolest thing a singer and band can do is share their story, warts and all.    

2011 Review: a folk rock band from Chapel Hill, NC with a dramatic sound and great instrumentation.  Lost in the Trees craft epic Wagnerian musical numbers with an onslaught of instrumentation and orchestration.  Their sound is based in traditional elements, mostly incorporating acoustic sounds at its base.  The band injects so much emotion though that it’s hard to even put a “folk” tag on their sound.  They are certainly at their best when they really go for with a sense of experimentation, adding dense drums or subtle electronic elements.  Lost in the Trees are also very accessible; I could see them gaining some mainstream grounding if they music can reach a larger audience.  They have a very mature sound especially considering they’ve only been releasing records for a few years.  Lost in the Trees recently released their sophomore LP Time Taunts Me, which is actually a reworking of a 2007 EP of the same name.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 111
Tonight’s late night set is a grab bag of electronic, rock, and World music musicians with an R&B band thrown in to get your ass shaking. Highlights:
Chet Faker (9) – Chet Faker is a singer from Australia with a soulful voice and warm tone. His electronic tracks feature inventive musical elements and catchy beats.
Lost in the Trees (8) – LITT have undergone a lineup change since we last heard from them and their paired down sound seems a natural evolution for the band. Front man Ari Picker’s vocals are pushed front and center with the bands new sound better highlighting his poetic songwriting.
Quantic (8) – For listeners new to Quantic’s music there is a vast array of material to check out from electronica, funk, Cumbia, to soul, jazz, trip hop, and downtempo on his previous albums. His most recent work focuses on Latin music primarily from his current home base of Colombia. He has shown over his vast discography an ability to perfectly mix current and vintage music. 
Jessy Lanza (7) – Singer Jessy Lanza is a unique vocalist with a slow spacious vocal style, emphasizing the spaces between the notes as much as the actual lyrics. The accompanying roomy production fills in the gaps between vocals creating a sense of balance and a relaxed feel. 
Caleb James (6) – Chicago has produced a string of amazing hip hop artists and Caleb James and the rest of the savemoney Crew have released some of the freshest hip hop to come out of the windy city in the last few years. James’ tracks show the young rapper has a deep love for nineties rap and his often self-produced tracks are playful wordy. 
Running in the Fog (6) – Running in the Fog is singer Amanda Harper whose serene sweet vocals float over spacious electronic production. 

Barrence Whitfield & The Savages (6) – Barrence Whitfield has a gritty soulful voice and sings energetic vocals over the bands foot-stomping instrumentation. The band sounds like one of those groups that has to be seen live to get the full effect.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 111

Tonight’s late night set is a grab bag of electronic, rock, and World music musicians with an R&B band thrown in to get your ass shaking. Highlights:

Chet Faker (9) – Chet Faker is a singer from Australia with a soulful voice and warm tone. His electronic tracks feature inventive musical elements and catchy beats.

Lost in the Trees (8) – LITT have undergone a lineup change since we last heard from them and their paired down sound seems a natural evolution for the band. Front man Ari Picker’s vocals are pushed front and center with the bands new sound better highlighting his poetic songwriting.

Quantic (8) – For listeners new to Quantic’s music there is a vast array of material to check out from electronica, funk, Cumbia, to soul, jazz, trip hop, and downtempo on his previous albums. His most recent work focuses on Latin music primarily from his current home base of Colombia. He has shown over his vast discography an ability to perfectly mix current and vintage music.

Jessy Lanza (7) – Singer Jessy Lanza is a unique vocalist with a slow spacious vocal style, emphasizing the spaces between the notes as much as the actual lyrics. The accompanying roomy production fills in the gaps between vocals creating a sense of balance and a relaxed feel.

Caleb James (6) – Chicago has produced a string of amazing hip hop artists and Caleb James and the rest of the savemoney Crew have released some of the freshest hip hop to come out of the windy city in the last few years. James’ tracks show the young rapper has a deep love for nineties rap and his often self-produced tracks are playful wordy.

Running in the Fog (6) – Running in the Fog is singer Amanda Harper whose serene sweet vocals float over spacious electronic production. 

Barrence Whitfield & The Savages (6) – Barrence Whitfield has a gritty soulful voice and sings energetic vocals over the bands foot-stomping instrumentation. The band sounds like one of those groups that has to be seen live to get the full effect.

Lost in the Trees"Red"


Operation Every Band caught Lost in the Trees at last year’s 35 Conferette (now 35 Denton) at a late night outdoor set after a night of music and drinking. Afterwards, as we ambled to our cars with our designated drivers we talked about just how good the band was. Were we enamored because we were boozed up, or were they as interesting a group as Kevin and I went on about? We caught them the next week at SXSW and all doubt was gone. The SXSW set was earlier, and singer Ari Picker’s, vocals and the band’s performance were again as dramatically intimate as we had heard at 35 Denton. We chose them as one of our 12 artists to follow and I asked to cover them as my lone non-hip hop act. A year later and my copy of All Alone in an Empty House is my most well worn record. It’s a perfect late night or early Sunday afternoon album, a mixture of heartfelt and dramatic from the first to final track that is rarely found. Ari’s songs are autobiographical and predominantly observational. Rarely does he pick a side in the often conflicting viewpoints in his songs. While the band has always had an experimental edge, a “folk orchestra” I’ve repeated on more than one occasion, their most recent singles and the implied tone of the new album, A Church That Fits Our Needs, appears to be their most exploratory yet.  promo video for the album finds Ari discussing his inspiration for the newest album, his mother’s illness and death, and how he coped and continues to deal with the sudden loss. So a little drunk or not, check out Lost in the Trees at SXSW and see if you find a similar connection to the music. For many acts the norms are a pretense of detachment and transparent fake cool, at least for this listener, the coolest thing a singer and band can do is share their story, warts and all. (Nate)

SXSW 2012 Spreadsheet 104:

Today’s second set is anchored by a write up for Lost in the Trees, a band Nate followed closely last year as part of our “The 12” project.  Highlights:

Lost in the Trees (10): Lost in the Trees is a dynamic folk orchestra from North Carolina that impressed us at last year’s  35 Conferette (Now 35 Denton) and SXSW so much that we chose them for the Operation Every Band “12” project where we covered 12 band’s journey after SXSW.  LITT has spent the last year touring and putting the finishing touches on their new album, A Church That Fits Our Needs, which looks to expand on their more experimental side. Singer Ari Picker’s songs are deeply emotional and take on added depth when you realize they are mostly autobiographical.
Stardeath & White Dwarfs (6): Even if experimental psychedelic pop isn’t my primary musical genre, Stardeath & White Dwarfs do it really well, sounding like an updated version of early Pink Floyd.
Stepdad (6): This ultra-catchy pop band from Grand Rapids, MI would fit nicely on a bill with Passion Pit or Miike Snow, using quirky electronic elements to create a sense of experimentation around traditional pop forms.
Strand of Oaks (6): Strand of Oaks is the moniker of Philadelphia singer-songwriter Tim Showalter, who plays slow and minimal folk songs with some interesting experimental deviations that separate him from the pack.
The Strange Familiar (6): A shimmering pop band from Ohio, The Strange Familiar are strong song crafters that prominently feature the voice of Kira Leyden, a songstress with an arsenal of radio-ready licks.
The Steeldrivers (5): Nashville’s The Steeldrivers have only released a couple records, but their sound has a timeless quality, pulling from traditional and rootsy bluegrass with a pop edge.
Sugar & the Hi Lows (5): This Nashville guy/girl duo is steeped in 50s pop influences, but also brings an updated blues rock vibe to their debut LP released a couple weeks back.

SXSW 2012 Spreadsheet 104:


Today’s second set is anchored by a write up for Lost in the Trees, a band Nate followed closely last year as part of our “The 12” project.  Highlights:


Lost in the Trees (10): Lost in the Trees is a dynamic folk orchestra from North Carolina that impressed us at last year’s  35 Conferette (Now 35 Denton) and SXSW so much that we chose them for the Operation Every Band “12” project where we covered 12 band’s journey after SXSW.  LITT has spent the last year touring and putting the finishing touches on their new album, A Church That Fits Our Needs, which looks to expand on their more experimental side. Singer Ari Picker’s songs are deeply emotional and take on added depth when you realize they are mostly autobiographical.

Stardeath & White Dwarfs (6): Even if experimental psychedelic pop isn’t my primary musical genre, Stardeath & White Dwarfs do it really well, sounding like an updated version of early Pink Floyd.

Stepdad (6): This ultra-catchy pop band from Grand Rapids, MI would fit nicely on a bill with Passion Pit or Miike Snow, using quirky electronic elements to create a sense of experimentation around traditional pop forms.

Strand of Oaks (6): Strand of Oaks is the moniker of Philadelphia singer-songwriter Tim Showalter, who plays slow and minimal folk songs with some interesting experimental deviations that separate him from the pack.

The Strange Familiar (6): A shimmering pop band from Ohio, The Strange Familiar are strong song crafters that prominently feature the voice of Kira Leyden, a songstress with an arsenal of radio-ready licks.

The Steeldrivers (5): Nashville’s The Steeldrivers have only released a couple records, but their sound has a timeless quality, pulling from traditional and rootsy bluegrass with a pop edge.

Sugar & the Hi Lows (5): This Nashville guy/girl duo is steeped in 50s pop influences, but also brings an updated blues rock vibe to their debut LP released a couple weeks back.

"The 12" Leads Daytrotter "Top Sessions"

As of this morning, two of the top three sessions on Daytrotter are held down by artists we’re following as part of “The 12”.  The Civil Wars and James Vincent McMorrow’s sets were both added to the site in the last two weeks and have been popular downloads ever since.  The takes are intimate and raw from both acts, a trend among bands that record in Sean Moeller’s Rock Island, Illinois barn/studio.  The sets feature some nice unreleased tracks as well, capturing The Civil Wars’ “Disarm” cover and “Oh Henry” as well as McMorrow B-Sides “Red Dust” and “We Are Ghosts”.  Daytrotter has recorded hundreds of sessions over the last five years, now posting at least one new session everyday.  The site’s focus on new and unique musical content to the online listening landscape has set the benchmark for any new music blog or service.  Not only that, but they also provide a great forum for independent artists to display their songs to a wider international audience.  To prove their reach, Daytrotter has recorded sessions with an astonishing nine of the artists in “The 12”, from hip hop artist Dessa to the fuzz-rockers Yuck to the orchestral folk of Lost in the Trees.  We’ve compiled all of “The 12” Daytrotter sessions below (see more by click on the “Read More” button), which are freely downloadable directly from Daytrotter’s website.


8/9/11 - The Civil Wars

Birds of a Feather, Disarm (Smashing Pumpkins), C’est La Mort, Oh Henry


8/1/11 – James Vincent McMorrow

This Old Dark Machine, Follow You Down to the Red Oak Tree, Red Dust, We Are Ghosts

Read More

The 12 on The 12 - Suz Slezak (David Wax Museum)

Next week, we’ll share our full interview with Suz Slezak from David Wax Museum in conjunction with our Newport Folk Festival coverage, but we wanted to give a quick preview with a new segment called “The 12 on The 12”.  We’ll close out every interview with asking for any insight on the other bands we are covering.  Below are Suz’s thoughts on Lost in the Trees and The Head and the Heart, who will join the band at Newport next weekend.


The Head and the Heart


It seems like The Head and the Heart are doing extremely well.  It seems like they have a great thing going.  We just got to see them actually opening for The Low Anthem when we were in London.  We were passing through and had a night off so we found ourselves going to that show.  We were able to meet them briefly and I know we’re going to see them at some festivals this summer, so we’re really looking forward to connecting with them more.


Lost in the Trees


We’ve played with Lost in the Trees.  I love what they’re doing.  I feel like they’re taking a singer-songwriter mold and pushing the envelope in terms of bringing in the orchestral vibe.  We really loved meeting them; we shared a show with them in North Carolina and have been in touch with them along the way.

Three new tracks from Lost in the Trees “This Dead Bird Is Beautiful” - “Garden” - “Church Music” - Duke Gardens 7/13/11

Lost in the Trees play three unreleased songs at Duke Gardens as part of Duke Performances’ Music in the Gardens series in Durham, NC on July 13, 2011.

(Source: youtube.com)

Under the Covers with Lost in the Trees

It’s always fun to hear one bands take on another band or singer’s song. Below are a few videos of Lost in the Trees and friends covering other band’s songs.

Lost in the Trees cover Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me”

at Craig’s House Party 5/14/10

(source: YouTube user cotafloata)

Lost in the Trees, Rusty Sutton of Rat Jackson, and members of Midtown Dickens cover “Skulls” by the Misfits and go into the crowd for a rousing performance of “Love On My Side” at Legitimate Business in Greensboro, NC 10/14/10

(source: Vimeo user Eric Chen)

Check out Eric’s Vimeo channel for a bunch of great live performances from numerous bands.

Sean Rowe and Lost in the Trees cover “So long, Marianne” by Leonard Cohen

in Portland, OR

(source: YouTube user menaceviking)

Lost in the Trees and The Toddlers cover Scott Walker’s “The Old Man’s Back Again” at the Local 506 in Chapel Hill, NC 12-6-09

(source: YouTube user cotafloata)

Lost in the Trees are working on a new album and have a string of shows coming up for the rest of the summer.

Catching up with Lost in the Trees at the Nelsonville Music Festival

Lost in the Trees continues their seemingly endless tour of shows at venues and festivals across the country. On May 14th and 15th the group of seven musicians played the Nelsonville Music Festival atHocking College in Southeastern Ohio. The band played the rainy main stage on Saturday prior to The Flaming Lips. Lips front man Wayne Coyne along with Sean Lennon of The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger who played before LITT caught the performance from backstage. LITT tweeted that having the two stage side was “…..extremely nerve wracking!” Ohio University’s The Post newspaper in its Nelsonville recap pointed out “…Coyne was stageside watching and briefly talked with some members of Lost in the Trees. As soon as he walked away, Lost in the Trees’ lead singer turned to his bandmates and looked so thrilled to have met the Flaming Lips’ frontman.”

(Photo Source:  cdubya1971’s flickr photostream)

The band also played a very well received set on Sunday at the festivals packed NO-FI Cabin. Vimeo user Kevin Monnier posted the video below from the set. The bands “Walk Around the Lake” was also filmed by YouTube member Fuzzy518 but do to close quarters in the NO-FI Cabin it was shot horizontally, see the video here. One attendee Glenn Janos noted “The band members tip-toed around to the music due to the limited space, there was so little room that at one point they asked members of the audience to hold instruments for them.” 

 

Lost in the Trees - Song for the Painter from Kevin Monnier on Vimeo.

Lost in the Trees has a number of upcoming shows posted on their website. They will be playing North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ney York, and California in July. After a short break the group will play Lou Fest in St. Louis Missouri in August, they will share a bill with an amazing lineup. Find tickets and info on the LITT site

Lost in the Trees Videography

Lost in the Trees’ has a great selection of videos online, both official and live recordings. These videos showcase the individual musicians in the band and capture the band performing live. The band partners with blogs that record live performances regularly. This is both an interesting way to get a number of high quality music videos and rewarding for LITT fans who may miss some of the performance subtleties at live shows. The official Lost in the Trees videos are very cinematic and utilize the members of the band as actors. Below is a collection of Lost in the Trees videos from around the web.

"All Alone In An Empty House" (Official Video)

Directed and Produced by Ari Picker and Jerry Stifelman CreatoDestructo

"Walk Around The Lake" (Official Video)

Released via Anti / Epitaph / Trekky August 2010

Directed by CreatoDestructo - http://creatodestructo.tv/

"Icy River" (Take-Away Show)

From The Take-Away Shows via La Blogotheque

Visit their amazing archive of shows at http://vimeo.com/blogotheque

Directed by Derrick Belcham

"Tall Trees"

Source: http://www.youtube.com/user/subwaysessionsdotcom

Lost in the Trees perform “Tall Trees” for Subway Sessions at Broadway/Lafayette.

"We Burn the Leaves"

(Live in Studio A at TheAlternateSide.org)

more at: http://www.youtube.com/user/officiallosttrees

Lost in the Trees’ front man Ari Picker was on Last Call with Carson Daly this week. Ari discussed his song writing process, the power of acoustic music, and growing up a flute player in a small town in the south.  

(Source: youtube.com)

Up to Date: Lost in the Trees

NPR posted a great rehearsal moment from Sean Rowe and Lost in the Trees as they prepare for their show tonight at Tractor Tavern in Seattle. Sean Rowe and Lost in the Trees perform Leonard Cohen’s “So Long, Marianne.” Tomorrow the band will travel to Vancouver BC to play the Media Club

The All Songs Considered article.

(Source: youtube.com)

Introducing the 12: Lost in the Trees

Lost in the Trees

“I’m no expert, by any means, but I am blown away by orchestral music. Ideas that are stale or old hat to classical people are still pretty magical to me. All I want is to take a pinch of that brilliance, and put it into what I do.”

Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC

Label: ANTI Records

Currently Supporting: 2010 re-release of sophomore album All Alone in an Empty House

Operation Every Band Reporter: Nathan Headden

Lost In The Trees is an orchestral folk music group from Chapel Hill, North Carolina that mix folk, pop, and classical music together creating a unique and exciting sound. There is an unparalleled honesty and beauty to the band’s music. On stage and on record they create a rich sound that encompasses the listener allowing singer Ari Picker’s voice to become another instrument in the bands vast bag of musical tools. The musicians that form the remainder of Lost in the Trees include Emma Nadeau, Scott Carle, Mark Daumen, Joah Tunnell, Leah Gibson, Drew Anagnost, Katie Wyatt, Lauren Paynter, Corynn Loebs, Neel-Gopal Sharma, Ken Carle, Will Gibbons, Will Hackney, Jonny Tunnell, Jenavieve Varga, and Wendy Allen. I have attempted to include all the members of Lost in the Trees but I may have missed a few, sincere apologies to any musicians not mentioned.

Many of the performers play multiple instruments on All Alone In An Empty House and Time Taunts Me, a testament to the group’s musicianship. It’s no surprise that the artists in LITT hail from “prestigious music schools such as Berklee, Eastman and University of North Carolina, as well as the rich, indie-rock community in North Carolina.” The talented group breathes new life into classical music while still making contemporary music.

Today there are many bands filled with great musicians and it is superb song writing and precise composition that separates Lost in the Trees from the crowd. Picker uses song writing as personal therapy, a way to work through life’s lingering issues. He notes in an Anti- records Tumblr post with regard to the title track from ‘All Alone in an Empty House,’ “The song’s locations and happenings, my father‘s stone wall, the tower off the side of the house that he eventually moved into, my twin sisters who died at birth, my mother’s extreme depression, the emotional and sexual abuses, they are all real. But my intention in sharing them is to turn this hard reality into art, something that the listener may find comfort or hope in.” The immensely personal lyrics create authenticity rarely found in contemporary music that is impossible to fake. Picker’s open wounds style of song writing is reminiscent of legendary song writer Townes Van Zandt. 

Picker has noted “I don‘t want to come across as a highly educated defender of the (classical music) genre. I just want to champion the excitement that I feel about it in the simplest possible terms.” The groups Project Symphony is a testament to this excitement about classical music and making it accessible. Project Symphony is a program where “Lost in the Trees leads an educational rehearsal and co-created concert with (orchestra) students. The program can be a collaborative effort, with multiple options for one or more day experiences.” The band members work both in groups and individually with students on techniques and improving skills while showing the kids a fresh new approach to orchestral music.

The band has experienced quite a growth in their popularity recently through an aggressive touring schedule that included shows at Denton’s 35 Conferette and Austin’s SXSW music conference and continues now. Lost in the Trees has an intangible power to their live performances that never fully translates on record. They are building a strong fan base by bringing their unique mix of folk and classical music to venues and festivals all over the country. They are truly not to be missed if they are in your town.

Nathan’s Note: I have been very impressed with Lost in the Trees music both live and recorded. The band is so powerful on both lyrical and instrumental tracks. They are not a band whose music should be listened to as singles as the instrumental tracks form perfect segues between the lyrical tracks on both available albums. Observant readers may notice the other performers I’ll be writing about are hip hop artists. I listen to hip hop for storytelling and eclectic sampling and production. I chose Lost in the Trees for the same reasons, the strength of Ari’s songwriting and the mixture of tempo and styles in the band’s songs which never bore the listener.

Best of SXSW - 6) Lost in the Trees @ Paste Party

Photo borrowed from Jambase.com

Lost in the Trees was another new discovery from the Operation Every Band project, but it was actually my second time catching the band after seeing them perform a late set at 35 Conferette in Denton earlier in March.  That show was a little plagued by technical difficulties on the forefront of the band’s mind, but I really enjoyed their sound and approach, and walked away impressed with their combination of emotional folk music with a defined classical influence.  The song “Walk Around The Lake” really struck me too, with the Wagnerian string melodies and intense and dark, emotional tone.  It stuck as one of the highlights of the growing Denton festival after that weekend, becoming one of the bands I’ve dug into the most throughout the past month.

Photo borrowed from Jose Gonzalez’s Flickr

Unsurprisingly, when I saw Lost in the Trees was playing among a great mix of folk rock band at Wednesday’s Paste Party, I couldn’t have been more excited.  The beautiful thing is, their set was even better than the performance the week before, and actually created a sound that far exceeded their already excellent studio efforts.  There was a strong energy throughout The Stage on Sixth that afternoon which Lost in the Trees completely took advantage of by all of the band giving it their all on stage.  There was an unexpected aggression to their playing, especially in the string section, creating a real bite to their folk delivery. 

Their greatest strengh was highlighted with an instrumental track and some stunning outros, completely embracing the classical influence.  This was a great counterpoint to the nature of the bands playing along side Lost in the Trees that afternoon.  There certainly is a trend in incorporating more interesting instrumentation and influences into folk music throughout the past couple of years (Edward Sharpe, Seryn, Typhoon, Mother Falcon etc.).  The seperation that Lost in the Trees proved throughout this set was that they don’t play folk music with a classical music, but rather they truly combine both styles pretty much equally.  A gentle violin solo is one thing, but the complex arrangements that ground Lost in the Tree’s music is truly a unique take on the genre.  There is a certain amount of tension created by their melodies and harmonies that works so powerfully live.  I can’t wait to keep catching them whenever they are touring, truly a band to watch in the coming years.